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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

August 02 2023

Today, Wednesday August 02

We Will Recount Your Praise”

Psalm 79:9-13 A Psalm of Asaph.

“Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, For Your name's sake! Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Let there be known among the nations in our sight The avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed. Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You; According to the greatness of Your power Preserve those who are appointed to die.

Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord! But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.”

The Asaph who wrote Psalm 79 lived in the time of Jeremiah the prophet when the Babylonians captured the city of Jerusalem and destroyed it. In verses 1-4, Asaph is mourning over the terrible atrocities that have taken place. In verses 5-8, he is suffering and feels God’s anger and jealousy. In verses 9-11, he is praying and pleading with God to bring relief. “Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You; According to the greatness of Your power Preserve those who are appointed to die” (v. 11).

Now as Asaph finishes his prayer and writing this Psalm, he closes it with a promise to praise God. Over the years as I have read the Psalms each month, I have noticed that many of Psalms begin with the writer sharing his feelings of despair, suffering and pain, praying and pleading to God for help, reminding himself of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness, but then almost in all of them he finishes the Psalm with praise. Well, Asaph in Psalm 79 does the same. He must have been familiar with previously written Psalms!

How could any person witness what Babylon did to the Jews and not cry out to God for retribution? In some ways Psalm 79 fits the description of the imprecatory prayers in the Psalms. God had chosen Babylon to chasten Judah for her sins, but the Babylonians had rejoiced at the privilege and had gone too far in their cruelty (Jer. 50:11-16; 51:24). Asaph's burden was that Babylon had not just punished His people but had also mocked and reproached the Lord. So, he asked God to pay them back in like measure (see Isa. 65:6; Jer. 32:18; Luke 6:38).

God's covenant with Israel often uses the phrase "seven times" (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28; Deut. 28:7, 25). The prophet Jeremiah promised that God would judge Babylon for her sins (Jer. 50-51). Jeremiah had prophesied that God would us Babylon to punish Israel for their sins but also that he would eventually punish and judge Babylon for what they did when they carried out that judgment. No doubt Asaph knew of these prophecies, then he was simply praying for God to accomplish His will on earth.

Asaph pleas that the people of Judah were but sheep (Psalms 74:1; 77:20; 78:72; 95:7; 100:3), but they had been ruthlessly slaughtered by their enemies, and God's name had been slandered. God had called His people to praise Him and to bear witness to the heathen nations (Isa. 43:21), and this is what Asaph promised to do if God would only deliver the people. It is interesting to note that years later there were sons of Asaph who left Babylon for Judah when the captivity ended, so Asaph's promise to the Lord was fulfilled (Ezra 2:41; 3:10; Neh. 7:44; 11:17, 22; 12:35-36).

Because God is holy and just, He must judge and punish sin. This is the story of Israel throughout the Old Testament. Over and over again you read about this in the Book of Judges and the rest of the history books through 2 Chronicles. But I’m afraid that this is also our story. After we have enjoyed the favor and blessings of the Lord for a period of time, we take them for granted and become complacent, and begin to slip back into our old ways and forget the Lord, growing cold in our spiritual life.

The Lord has to get our attention with some chastisement, and He is ready to forgive us when we come back to Him. Remember in Luke 15 the story of the prodigal son. We thank the Lord for the promise that “if we confess our sins God is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9-10).

God bless!

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